Project Inspire 2011

Named for its inventor, a Rube Goldberg machine consists of a deliberately complicated set of chain reactions to accomplish a rather simple task. Think of a bowling bowl being dropped on a seesaw to launch a basketball through a basketball hoop and then down onto an aluminum can, crushing it. The machine requires a long period of carefully planned and executed preparation. If the seesaw and basketball hoop are not aligned or the bowling ball is too light, the operation fails.

Some members of the CYSJ prep team: Lowell Greenberg, Steven Johnson, Tyler Orginski, Chelsey Flink, Vanessa Palafox, Marci Chavez, Erin Walter and Amanda Liles

The two-day service event with NVIDIA and Care Force shared some similarities to a Rube Goldberg machine. The event was a complex machine of many moving parts, and while the tasks were not deliberately complicated, much preparation was needed to guarantee a smooth operation from sunrise on Friday to sunset on Saturday. The City Year San Jose prep team spent a week setting up all the pieces for the two days. Their work ensured a seamless chain reaction of events that saw a farm stand and outdoor kitchen raised, numerous variegated murals painted, a new storage shed established and over forty other projects completed. Their work allowed 1500 volunteers to engage in service that dramatically altered and improved the sustainability of Full Circle Farm.

Erin Walter, a member of the prep team, describes some of the work they did during the immense undertaking of delicately poising the farm for the biggest Project Inspire yet.

We arrived Monday to an empty farm with enormous loads of stacked wood and hundreds of tools and materials that needed to be organized and distributed around the farm. During the week many of us learned how to use power saws to cut wood for the kits and for examples that we built.

Corps Member Kristen Jezior measures wood to be cut by volunteers

Others dug holes for the farm stand’s foundation and aided the professional workers in completing the foundation for the outdoor kitchen. Few of us had done construction work before, but Care Force was incredibly patient, helpful and supportive. These are but a few examples of the countless tasks we completed to be ready for Friday and Saturday. The days were long and exhausting but filled with a lot of laughter! In the end it was incredible to see it all come together.

Thank you prep team for setting everyone up for a successful Project Inspire! Thank you to all the corps members, staff, Care Force and Nvidians who served as Project Coordinators, runners and registration experts during the service days.  The work we all accomplished together last weekend was amazing.

For more information on this year’s Project Inspire check out our Wordless Wednesday post, NVIDIA’s website and this link.


-Erin Walter, Corps Member and Dan Maurath, Training Project Leader CYSJ


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